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Reality Training
by Reality Training

Taking command: Fully involved structure

As the first-on-scene officer, what would your incident action plan look like for this fire, and is the structure worth saving?

By Robert Avsec

This feature is intended to spark the sharing of ideas, information and techniques to make firefighters safer and more effective. The following video and discussion points must not be used to berate, belittle or criticize those firefighters. Rather, in the spirit of near-miss reporting, please use this feature as another teaching tool to help you better do your job. Please leave your comments below and use this material in your own department. I hope you find this Reality Training valuable; stay safe and keep learning.

The “Three Cs of incident command” are Communicate, Coordinate and Control. For this incident, let’s focus on the last two.

Coordinate means to focus and coordinate all resources towards one Incident Action Plan. The initial incident commander must conduct an appropriate size-up of the incident and develop the initial IAP to begin incident management operations. 

Once the commander has the IAP in her head, she must begin to translate the plan into meaningful task assignments for the remainder of the incoming resources.

Control means the incident commander must exert a positive influence on incident operations and resources, safety hazards and the incident environment (such as keeping civilians and vehicles clear and providing scene lighting).

Discussion questions

  • How would you assess this situation as an arriving officer who will be assuming command from the first arriving officer? 
  • What would be your IAP?
  • What is your evaluation of the tactical operations that you see taking place in the video? 
  • What adjustments, if any, would you make if you were assuming command of this incident?
  • How would you evaluate the level of coordination for the tactical activity presented in the video?
  • How would you evaluate the control being exerted by the incident commander for this incident? 
  • Was this a structure worth saving?

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Jerry Mikels Jerry Mikels Monday, January 06, 2014 8:17:30 AM surround and drown
Brian Hennessy Brian Hennessy Monday, January 06, 2014 9:44:06 AM Hard to see the whole house, only thing I saw was no eye protection for guys breaking windows out I would have gotten crap for that....
Mathew Goose Robinson Mathew Goose Robinson Monday, January 06, 2014 1:00:50 PM My actions are based on the assumption that this is not persons reported and this view is based on the crews actions on the fire-ground. My initial actions: once in attendance, assistance message, make pumps five for personnel and water. I would then perform a quick walk/ run around the premises looking for any salient points of interest, highlighting any hazards or any firefighting media/ fixed installations. On all persons being accounted for I would move into a defensive firefighting mode using covering jets and main lines. I would also request attendance of police for public management. On arrival of further appliances I would sectorize the incident ground surrounding the fire and use one pump as command-support. I would not, under any circumstances, attempt to tactically ventilate a working fire as the risks to crews, casualties and the property are too great. Once the fire had been pushed back, I would commit two three-man BA teams with a main-line thermal imaging camera and drag forks to supress and extinguish the remainder of the fire and eliminate any hotspots. I would then request attendance of welfare unit (fire victims support) and fire investigation level 2. And then home for tea, biscuits and medals
Patrick Dwyer Patrick Dwyer Tuesday, January 07, 2014 2:35:27 AM From what can be discerned in this video only. Protect exposures first, call in utilities, ventilate with positive pressure. fast attack look for victims. Get the knockdown, salvage and overhaul. Thats the basics right? Protocol ,ask for PD assistance for traffic and crowed control. Arson investigators should be on scene inter viewing the first arriving, and witnesses.

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